You Can Thank The Irish!

People have been making jack o'lanterns at Halloween for centuries, but have you ever wondered why? The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack."

The legend goes something like this...

Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.

Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o'lanterns.

There you have it! Another frightening superstition by the Irish!

It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Being the time of year that it is, I thought I should get some fallish things posted.

The first order of business being pumpkins. I love seeing them in the store because for me its one of the first indications that "the holidays" are just around the corner. And, as most of you know, I am a Christmas freak.

I, also, enjoy carving them, and I especially love the seeds.

Growing up, however, the only pumpkins I consumed were the ones I dug out of the Harvest Mix. Like, most things I hate and don't eat...I have a story about why. Basically, I was forced to eat a piece of pumpkin pie at a very young age by a friend of my parents. First of all, I hate pie. Not just pumpkin pie, but all pie. Secondly, I think pie in general, and especially pumpkin pie, is a pretty adult dessert. At any rate, the whole experience was a bad one, and it set the tone for the next 20 years or so.

Even though I still hate pie, I have grown to savor the flavor of pumpkins. And, they just happen to be super good for you. Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes, it’s a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. Half a cup of canned pumpkin has 3.5 grams of fiber. All this, AND zero cholesterol! Which is great news for your immune system and can also help prevent heart disease and cancer!


The seeds are also worth snackin' on. Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are loaded with minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. They seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect, and may even help protect against prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A quarter cup has 1.5 grams of fiber.


  • Pumpkins are the largest fruit in the world, and are 90% water.

  • The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." "Pepon" was changed by the French into "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin."

  • The ‘Pumpkin Capital of the World’ is Morton, Illinois. Home of Libby’s pumpkin industry.

  • Although pumpkins are usually orange or yellow, some are dark green, pale green, orange-yellow, white, red and gray.


Bean Brownies?!?!?!?!!?

First of all, I have not tried this recipe. This recipe was suggested to me by someone I will call an acquaintance.

I was told it makes the brownies healthier because it adds protein and fiber and eliminates some of the cholesterol and fat.

But, wait....BEANS?


Beans in the brownies?!?!?!

Allegedly, I am told you cannot taste the beans after they have cooled. And, the after they have cooled part was stressed, so I assume that's important.

So...the recipe.

You will need a box of regular brownie mix, meaning no addition goodness such as caramel, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. and a can a black beans.

Dump the beans into a blender or food processor or what have you...including the syrupy bean goo they are packaged in. Blend until the beans are very clearly no longer beans. I am told this will resemble Hersey's Syrup.

Mix the bean syrup with the brownie mix and bake per the package directions.

And, ....enjoy?

I admit I have not yet had the courage to try these, but...



A Billion Trees


This is a pretty cool campaign. I like that its so affordable...$1 = 1 tree! What a great way to celebrate life...when its just beginning or has ended.

I think a lot of people don't realize all that trees do for us...how important they are. We, as a society...a world in general...don't take time to appreciate nature anymore. We should be so grateful, but instead we chop away at it and destroy it.



Interesting Facts About Trees:
Trees are the longest living organisms on the planet and one of the earth's greatest natural resources. They keep our air supply clean, reduce noise pollution, improve water quality, help prevent erosion, provide food and building materials, create shade, and help make our landscapes look beautiful. Here are some more thought-provoking facts and figures about our oldest citizens and living treasures...trees!

  • The shade and wind buffering provided by trees reduces annual heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars.

  • Each average-sized tree provides an estimated $7 savings in annual environmental benefits, including energy conservation and reduced pollution.

  • A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. That means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four!

  • Water originating in our national forests provide drinking water for over 3400 communities, and approximately 60 million individuals.

  • One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles.
    Over the course its life, a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide.

  • An average American uses about 750 pounds of paper every year, and 95% of homes are built using wood. That means each person uses the equivalent of one 100 foot tall, 16 inch diameter, tree every year for their paper and wood product needs.

  • About one third of the United States of America is covered by forests.

  • According to the last forest inventory, there are almost 247 billion trees over 1 inch in diameter in the U.S.

  • The average tree in an urban/city area has a life expectancy of only 8 years.

  • The tallest tree in the country is a Coast Redwood growing in northern California's Redwood National Park. It is 369 feet tall and over 2000 years old!


Mrs. K's Caramel Apple Cake

This is a great fall dessert even if you're dieting. Check it out!


2 Eggs
2/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup of oil
1 can of caramal apple pie filling
1 box of Fiber One Apple Muffin Mix

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a clear 9x14 baking pan with non stick spray.

Spread the apple pie filling in the bottom of the pan.

Prepare muffin mix according to directions and spread out over the pie filling.

Bake until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes or so.

Allow to cool and cut into 12 squares.

I topped mine with cool whip and caramel syrup.


The National Honor Society

I got a letter today inviteing me to join the National Honor Society.

I am really excited because I needed some good news with everything that has happened lately.